(Doug is sitting on a chair in a room)
Doug: Hey, That Guy With the Glasses here. You know, a lot of people have been asking me what my favorite movies are. Now a lot of you already know what my first all-time favorite movie is, but a lot of people have been asking what are some of my other favorites. And I was thinking about it, and I actually came up with the list. And usually, I do, like, a Top 10 list or something like that, but, really, I just love movies so much that I feel really bad that some got left out. So I'm actually gonna do a Top 20 list. These are my Top 20 Favorite Movies. I know that's a lot, so I'll try not to make them too long, but, yeah. A lot of people have been wondering about this, so I am here to tell you what my Top 20 Favorite Movies of All Time are. So, here we go.
[Throughout all this, Doug will say the film's title and then give his own thoughts on the film as various clips of the film play]
Doug (vo): Number 20 -- Titus. If you've ever seen a Shakespeare play or even an opera nowadays, Titus probably doesn't look that different to you. The idea of putting characters in no specific timeline but rather a series of timelines through costumes and settings is nothing really new. But Titus was the first one I know of to do it on the big screen. And it also took one of Shakespeare's least popular plays and breathed all new life into it, both visually and with its character development. It's not like Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet where the setting and language seem really out of place. The visuals compliment the dialogue perfectly and do nothing but enforce the emotion the characters are going through. I think its director, Julie Taymor, is one of the few directors who's really pushing the boundaries of the film medium, (shows poster for Across the Universe) even if not all of her films are great. But she's made two really good ones (shows posters for Frida and Titus), and Titus is by far my favorite. Surreal, intense, and all for the purpose of serving the master himself, Shakespeare.
Doug (vo): Number 19 -- Hamlet. OK, I swear this is the last Shakespeare movie. Of course, I love the play, who can't? But this version directed by Kenneth Branagh is my personal fave. I really enjoy the performances, but I especially love the atmosphere and setting. Unlike Titus, though, this all takes place in one setting, sort of a Victorian-style era, I think, but it matches the work really well. The way it's set up and put together is really clever, and I really love how sympathetic Branagh makes the villain, Claudius. He actually seems more like a real person than a lot of the other versions I've seen. There's some celebrity cameos, like Robin Williams and Billy Crystal, that are a little distracting, but for the most part, they do a good job, all except, oddly enough, Jack Lemmon. Isn't that weird? You'd think he'd be the best out of all of them. But, oh, well. For me, this is the most enjoyable film version of the play I've seen. Clever, well-developed, and, of course, Shakespeare, what more could you need?
Doug (vo): Number 18 -- Patton. I always love George C. Scott and this is his role of a lifetime. Anyone can enjoy this movie whether you agree with the character or not. Is it a pro-war film? An anti-war film? Well, it's both and it's neither. It's a character study about one of the greatest generals of all time. The man was set in his ways and already knew he was the best, but he also had the intelligence and wit to back him up. He's one of the most fascinating people who ever lived and this film really demonstrates that. Straying very little from historical fact, most of what you see is really what happened. In fact, a lot of the stuff is so strange, you swear it wouldn't have happened, that they made it up for the movie, but most of it did. And thus, we're left with a truly inspiring, complex, and remarkable human being, as well as one of my favorite movies of all time.
Patton: I love it.
Doug (vo): Number 17 -- Ed Wood. Anyone who wants to go into a creative medium, especially film, should definitely see this movie. The antics of one of the worst directors of all time is brought to us beautifully through Johnny Depp's performance and Tim Burton's direction. It's so hard not to like Edward D. Wood Junior. He's so passionate and driven, but at the same time, he's wasting people's money and making such creatively horrible movies. Do you respect him or pity him? Well, much like Patton, it doesn't really tell you how to feel about him. It just shows you the man and lets you decide for yourself. True, there are large chunks of the story that are made up, and it does bother me that they have Bela Lugosi swearing so much even though it was never reported that he did. But I got to admit, it's just funny. And as long as real fans know that he didn't swear like a sailor, I guess I don't mind too much. And I can say, as a person who makes videos, that I always think of this movie. Why? Because no matter how good I think my work is, there's always the possibility that it's pure crap and that I don't see it. I guess in that way, it's a cautionary tale, but it's also about spending your life doing what you love and the effort you'll go through to achieve your dreams, even if the end result isn't exactly what you'd expect. What else could you say but, Ed Wood rocks?
Doug (vo): Number 16 -- Fantasia. Easily Disney's best animated feature. Though there's no dialogue or even a continuous story, Fantasia has the most drama, beauty and darkest elements of any of their films. The idea is wonderful, putting animated images to classical music, thus creating visual poetry. I think my favorite parts are the opening and closing. The abstract images of "Toccata and Fugue" really create a dreamlike experience that seems very similar to what people think of when they hear music, like on a subconscious level. The ending with the "Night on Bald Mountain" teamed up with "Ave Maria" is just brilliant. They all set each other so well and really create an unbelievable moment of music and imagery that actually kind of seems meditative at times. [The poster for Fantasia 2000 is shown] You're probably wondering what I thought of the sequel, Fantasia 2000. I liked parts of it, like the whales and the Hircshfield homage and the Goddess of Nature, but I don't think it always took itself very seriously. Some of the pieces, I could see more on a Saturday morning cartoon than an animated feature, not to mention the celebrity appearances are just painful to watch. I really hate it when Bette Midler refers to Salvador Dali as "the Melting Watch Guy". But we still got the original, the best, and the undefeated master. Fantasia is visual music to my ears.
Doug (vo): Number 15 -- The Secret of NIMH. I already talked in detail about this in my Top 11 Underrated Classics review, so I won't talk too much about it. I just love the atmosphere, the characters, and how seriously it takes its audience. I said before that I saw the movie as a three-way battle between science, nature and the unknown. I still believe that. And in the end, it seems like all three are needed to evolve and survive in a prosperous future. I don't know if that was the director's original intent was, but those elements are still present. The characters are good, the atmosphere is wonderful, and, of course, the art work by Don Bluth is just fantastic. Nothing much else to say except, I love this movie and everything it has to offer.
Doug (vo): Number 14 -- Sideways. This is one of the films that's kind of hard for me to explain why I like it. It just feels like I went on a really wild road trip. Our two characters, Jack and Miles, are both really intelligent and really stupid in their own way. We identify with Jack's constant lust for life, but acknowledge he never thinks about the consequences and often gets into trouble. But we also identify with Miles, who's more simple and cautious, but allows few things to happen to him, resulting in him slipping into a depressing stage. Do they learn anything by the end? I think Miles does, but Jack, I'm not so sure. But to be fair, I think that adds to the realism of it. It makes them some like more three-dimensional characters. A lot of people complain that there's a lot of negative dramatic moments in the movie, but it just makes the positive funny moments seem all the more enjoyable. When funny scenes happen, they seem all the more funny because we're watching so much dramatic stuff. There's one scene where Miles has to get his wallet back, and because of the tone of the film, we don't know if it's gonna be a funny moment or a serious moment. I won't spoil it for you, but needless to say, it's unforgettable. And that's the film in a nutshell, unforgettable. Not all of it is positive, but then again, the most memorable experiences have both negative and positive elements, and this is an experience I won't soon be forgetting, no matter how much Pinot noir I drink.
Doug (vo): Number 13 -- Spirited Away. This movie is so good, I actually sort of hate it. I'm jealous of it. I'm jealous of its likable characters. I'm jealous of its creative story. I'm jealous of its unbelievable visuals. It's an idea that's not based off of any book, movie, or TV show. It's just all originality, and I fricking love that. Again, mixing a lot of negative elements with positive ones, Spirited Away makes you remember every joyful, scary, or downright beautiful moment. My favorite scene is when they're on the train. Nobody says anything or does anything. It's just pure atmosphere, allowing you to take in the mystery and wonder that the film and the world it's created has to offer. I love this film so much, I despise it. I think that's one of the highest compliments you can give any movie. Spirited Away, it's so good it has to be bad.
Doug (vo): Number 12 -- A Clockwork Orange. For me, this is sort of a life-changing movie, a film that really made me question choice, free will, good, evil, and everything in between. The premise is brilliant, creating Alex, the most despicable and mentally psychotic human being, and taking away his choice, transforming him into an upright citizen. But he finds the civilized, peaceful world turns him into an outlet for their own rage and fear. It's just a great idea. I love the scene where the journalist tries to help him out and acknowledges that what society has done to him is barbaric, but when he finds out that Alex has wronged him in the past, all his ethnics disappear and he becomes one of those vengeful barbarians himself. That's just perfect. Stanley Kubrick's direction is wonderful, even if parts of it are a tad outdated. The angles, motion and surreal atmosphere just add to the disturbing environment he's trying to create. It's a film that makes you ponder and question, like most great films do, about choice, violence and the human mind. A Clockwork Orange is an easy fit for my #12 spot.
Doug (vo): Number 11 -- Fearless. This is a sort of hypnotizing movie, almost like you're in a daze most of the time. A film that draws you in from beginning to end and makes you wanna confront real undiluted pain in the hopes of conquering it. Jeff Bridges plays the survivor of an airplane crash and it leaves strange effect on him, almost like he's halfway between alive and dead. He starts seeking more thrills in the hopes of being woken up from his morbid altered state, but nothing seems to work. At times, he's unlikable, even horrible, but the movie's technique of pulling us in to what he's going through at least tries to help us understand why. The ending is one of the few scenes where I actually get a little teary-eyed at. The way they simulate an out-of-body experience really puts you in the world between life and death. And it's done so cleverly but with so little that it continues to take my breath away every time I see it. It's not always an upper, in fact, it's rarely an upper, but certainly one of those films that made me look at life a whole different way.
End of Part 1
Doug (vo): And that's part 1 of my favorite films. Stay tuned for part 2 which will be coming up soon.
Beginning of Part 2
Doug: Hey! Welcome back to my top 20 favorite movies. Well, you must have already watched the other top 10, so, let's get to the upper half. Here are my top 10 favorite movies.
Doug (vo): Number 10 -- Citizen Kane. Yeah, yeah, I know it's kind of a cliche to have this on the list, but I can't help it. I just love the movie. I saw this film in high school and I remember saying to myself, 'Yeah, come on, greatest movie of all time. Show me what you got.' Literally as soon as the movie started, I was hooked. I love the atmosphere. I love the Gothic angles. And I love the character study of Mr. Kane as he's seen through various people. It's obviously the film that changed everything in terms of movie-making, but it still really holds up in my opinion. I love the characters. I love the way the story is told. Every single shot of this movie is just unbelievable to look at, even by today's standards. The shadows are just wonderful; it just compliments the mood and atmosphere that the movie's trying to create. Now, I know it's weird putting what's considered the greatest film of all time in the #10 spot. But remember these aren't what I consider the best films of all time, they're just my personal favorites. Either way, I think Citizen Kane's gonna stay on the list. The greatest film of all time? Yeah, it's kind of hard not to like it, isn't it?
Doug (vo): Number 9 -- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I love just how creatively ugly and unpleasant this movie is. It's so tasteless, so gross, so insane, so unwatchable, that it's hard not to appreciate it. The story, about a journalist and his attorney's search for the American Dream, both satirizes our world while also creating its own. It's literally like you've entered another dimension, a world that's uncompromising, unsympathetic, and never apologizes for it. They're sent to Vegas where people are told the American Dream can be found: where you can go from a poor person to a rich person in one night. Their journey shows that the American Dream is just flat-out dead, replacing the ideals from the possibilities of the Hippie Movement with carnivorous greed and acceptance for mediocrity. The American Dream now is selfish, unfocused, and delusional. And, of course, it takes a person like Hunter S. Thompson to show it; always with one foot in reality and the other foot in a pit of madness. It's not always pleasant and it's not always nice, but that's the world the movie intended on making. It's depraved, wild, and totally out-of-control. I've never seen a film that was both so much fun to watch and yet also so hard to watch. It's a freak of nature to say the least and an experience like no other. God bless every demented minute of it.
Doug (vo): Number 8 -- The Dark Knight. I love how this film wanted to push the idea of a superhero to the next level, juggling ethics, choice, anarchy, and the responsibilities of people all in one movie. This is the film that made me consider the real possibility that comic book heroes are this century's Greek mythology. The fact that they could create an adaptation of Batman that's so faithful and yet so different from all the other versions was really fascinating. I love how far it wanted to push the envelope, and that marketing to kids played little to no part in it. This was a movie purely for adults, nobody else. And while I do have issues with it at times, I really do like what it did with the genre. And in many ways, it did raise the bar for other comic-book movies. It seemed to reach across the room and speak to everybody, even people who don't like comic-book movies could find something they enjoyed in The Dark Knight. There's always something to talk about, something to discuss, something to raise an eyebrow and get people chatting. Plus, being an Chicagoan, I just love the way they shot our city; it just looks so freaking cool. Like I even need to talk much more about it, it was an edgy, dark, action-packed drama that entertained the brain as well as the eyes.
Doug (vo): Number 7 -- Good Night and Good Luck. I didn't really know who Edward R. Murrow was before this movie, so I'm really glad I could be introduced to him this way. The question about how far do you take journalism is questioned quite often in this movie. Murrow goes beyond just reporting the news, he actually points out what's being done in the McCarthy era is wrong and challenges the government to prove otherwise. This starts a war of rhetoric as both sides attack one another in what they think is right for the American people. I just adore the dialogue in this movie. I love how calculated, calm, and to-the-point it is when fighting such a controversial battle. It's all done in language, not with political stunts or planned distractions. It's just all words. I could hear the words that Murrow spoke to the American people over and over, they're so brilliantly chosen. It's a very poignant work about standing up for what you believe in and taking the responsibility to follow through with it. And again, very little is made up, the majority of what happened in the movie really did in fact happen. They even show the footage that McCarthy released to the people calling Murrow 'the leader of the jackal pack'. It's hard to believe they could really talk like that back then. It's a wonderful film that's rich in atmosphere, character, and, of course, rhetoric: an easy pick for the #7 spot.
Doug (vo): Number 6 -- Lost in Translation. This is another one of those movies that just sort of seems like I've been on a nice trip. It's not really telling a story as much as taking you on an experience. The way Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson work off each other is very believable and in-depth. It knows how to capture the loneliness of being stuck in a spot you didn't expect and trying to figure out if you should do something about it or just come to grips with the pain? I'm a big Bill Murray fan and I would actually like to see him do more dramatic work in the future. But until then, this is my favorite film of his. I love the surreal atmosphere of Japan and how it seems to keep changing with the mood our characters are in; sometimes it seems welcoming and other times it seems alienating. It's very cleverly handled. I enjoy just what these two share with each other as well. They both try to pull each other out of the darkness and find something in not just one other, but also in themselves. You really feel the love and care that they share for one another. And, of course, that's the key to any great romance. Great experience for a great movie.
Doug (vo): Number 5 -- Eyes Wide Shut. This is a movie I probably could do a whole commentary on. The issues of love, relationships and commitment are really put to the test in this movie. The dreamlike state the film creates forces us to confront the questions of love not just on a conscious level, but also a subconscious level. What does it mean to be married? What does it mean to fully give yourself to another person, both physically and mentally? The idea of denying the possible dark truth to settle for a comforting possible lie, it seems so unsettling, but we also know that so many couples do it. The look of this film is keen-essential Kubrick. It's just like something out of a dream. Everything is blurry with the colors being muted behind shadows, and the insecurities of our characters constantly being exposed in the most uncomfortable way is something right out of a bad nightmare. There's a few things I don't enjoy, though, like that piano music that starts out cool, but by the end of the film, you just want to strangle it. And I also never cared for the last conversation between Cruise and his best friend. I mean, I know the movie's supposed to be slow, but that was just torture. Still, the contrast between the love of the body and the love of the mind are constantly being addressed, again asking the tough questions that many couples bring up but never fully confront. It's a brilliant film, and, by far, one of Kubrick's best. I guess it only figures that his final film would be one of his greatest, and my personal favorite.
Doug (vo): Number 4 -- Batman. I know it's strange putting a superhero movie over a cinematic master like Kubrick, but I really just adore this movie. This was one of the first comic-book movies, if not the first comic-book movie, to give itself such a dark tone. Every time I see it, it just gets better and better. There's a sense that this is the real deal. This is the actual Batman. There may be variations in other stories, but this is the guy the comics were written about. Some people still don't understand why I like this film more than The Dark Knight, and watching it again, I think there's two defining elements in it for me. One is [Michael] Keaton, who is still by far the best Batman in my opinion. His control, his intimidation, the way he can swing back and forth between characters, this is the Batman that I always looked up to and admired. And the other element I think can be found in this scene [where Batman and Vicki Vane are driving in the Batmobile to the Batcave]. There's no dialogue outside of one line, it's not important to the story, it could pretty much be cut from the film all together, but it adds a whole other level of atmosphere and appreciation. The music, the shots, the pacing, this movie actually allows you to breathe for a minute and take in the full size and scope of everything that is Batman. It really allows you to soak up the atmosphere. Now, I've already talked about this film to death before, so I won't go into too much more detail. All I can say is, it always felt like the real deal and it still does. For me, you just can't beat the original.
Doug (vo): Number 3 -- To Kill a Mockingbird. This is one of those perfect films. There's simply nothing wrong with it. Everything works: the story, the characters, the directing, but most of all, the acting. The performances from Gregory Peck and Mary Badham are two of the greatest in cinematic history. Peck's closing arguments always sends chills down my spine. It's so good. And Bedham's reaction to Boo Radley is just unbelievable. It's funny 'cause I usually don't get into films about prejudice and race unless it's really being analyzed, and while it doesn't really analyze why racism is around, we certainly see it from the point-of-view of a child, which is often a very important way to view things at times. I also really love Robert Duvall's performance. He doesn't even have a line and yet leads this unbelievable impression. That's a fricking good actor! I'm sure you've heard everybody talk about it and analyze it to death, so I won't bore you with too much more of it, but it really is just pure cinematic gold. It's dramatic, funny, suspenseful, powerful, and like I said before, just all-around perfect.
Doug (vo): Number 2 -- Amadeus. Another movie that's just perfect; perfect writing, perfect pacing, perfect acting, perfect directing. It's actually much like one of Mozart's operas, oddly enough. If you were to add anything or take away anything, it would cease being perfect. In fact, they released a director's cut not too long ago, and wouldn't you know it? It simply wasn't as good. As Mozart put it, you can't change something that's already perfect. Now, granted, the film is not entirely historically accurate. Mozart worked very hard on his music, and there was no proof that Salleri actually wanted to murder him. But people forget this is historical fiction, it's not supposed to be true. Stop taking it so seriously, it's just a frigging movie. I guess you can understand how people can get so passionate about it, because it is a very passionate film. The way Salleri is in constant battle with Mozart, God and his own sanity is just beautiful. The way Mozart battles his own demons in contrast is also perfect as well. I find it interesting that there is no other movies I can think of that are based on Mozart. There's a ton of Beethoven movies, but there's only one Mozart movie, the fictional one. Is it because this one was just so damn good that nobody else wants to try it? I don't know. But if that was the case, I wouldn't blame them. The music, the atmosphere and the brilliant storytelling are beyond compare. Like sweet music in one's ear, it only seems to get better and better the more you experience it.
Doug (vo): And my Number 1 Favorite Movie of All Time is...Brazil. A lot of you already know this, but if you don't, Brazil is my all-time favorite movie. Why? Because it has everything that I love: surreal images, dark comedy, over-the-top jokes, dramatic intensity, and that other worldly atmosphere. One of my favorite books is George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, and Brazil is something of a comedic version of that. It shows how bureaucracy is killing us, materials are more valuable than life, and mankind's constant quest to deny responsibility. The images, at times, are cartoony and strange, but can also get creepy and disturbing, much like the tone of the film. Its futuristic world, we can see very much in our own world today, and how needlessly complicated we make things to supposedly make our lives easier. Its only downfall, in my opinion, is the action. Director Terry Gilliam admitted that he couldn't really think of many creative ways to show people hurting each other. But aside from that, I truly love this film. I love how warped it is, I love how dark it is, I love how straight-to-the-point it is, and, of course, I love how uncompromising it is. Every time I see it, I notice something new, something in the background or even in the foreground I never caught before. I love films that constantly continue to evolve as time goes on, and how what it's trying to say only grows more and more true. This is one of those movies I could watch a thousand times and never be tired of it. It's unique, it's creative, it's my all-time favorite movie.